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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Murder suspects to get mental evaluations

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Court proceedings were stayed at the pretrial hearing Sept. 17 for murder suspects Bobby Wayne Woodrum and Brian Keith Shankle, both 18, who face capital murder charges for the June 24 murder of an Agnos man, Russell "Joe" Fisk.

Both men were returned to the Fulton County jail for court hearings and will remain there until their scheduled mental evaluation dates.

Jo Ann Cunningham, jail administrator, said it was costing the county $2,800 a month to house the pair at facilities in Craighead and Stone counties. The two inmates were transferred for security purposes after hacksaw blades were smuggled into a jail cell in Fulton County.

Woodrum's court appointed attorney, J. Russell Green of Heber Springs, filed a motion for Woodrum to submit to a mental evaluation, said Gene Maguffee, circuit court clerk. Woodrum entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment hearing Aug. 6.

Michael Loggains of Mountain Home and Larry Kissee of Ash Flat, both representing Shankle, filed a motion for a stay of proceedings pending a mental evaluation. A plea of not guilty was entered Aug. 6.

Kissee said a motion has been filed through the public defender's office to supply $2,000 to hire a private investigator to gather mitigating evidence in case his client is convicted and the jury requests the death penalty.

Kissee said, "Throughout his childhood (Shankle) has been in and out of juvenile facilities." He added that he plans to file a motion for a bond to be set for his client.

Shankle faces additional charges of arson after he was accused of setting fire to the Stone County Detention Center July 27. Evidence linked Shankle and another inmate to the fire, an earlier report said. Kissee said his client pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Sept. 5 for the arson charges but the case was continued until February.

No pretrial matters were heard for Jessie Petty, 20, who is charged with first degree murder, Maguffee said. Petty's attorney, T.J. Hively of Batesville, entered a not guilty plea at the arraignment hearing Aug. 6. Petty's trial date has been set for Oct. 7.

Timothy Est, 19, charged with first degree murder, is scheduled to appear at his trial Oct 7. Richard Castleman of Pocahontas was appointed the attorney of record for Est, but Castleman will be leaving the public defender's office, so Attorney Roy Meek of the 3rd Judicial District will be appointed to represent Est, said Maguffee.

Billy Jack Wilson, 26, had no pretrial matters and his trial date has been set for Oct. 7. He is represented by Norman Wilber of Mountain Home. Wilson was released from Independence County jail after paying a reduced bond in the amount of $25,000.

The five suspects have been charged with the murder of Russell "Joe" Fisk who was found dead in his home June 24 with a belt wrapped around his neck.

Affidavits recorded in the clerk's office allege the five men had been to the Fisk residence the night of the murder.

A witness said Woodrum and Shankle went inside the home and argued with Fisk about money that Fisk owed Woodrum for some lawn work.

The witness reported that Woodrum told her he had struck Fisk in the face with his fist, causing Fisk to fall and strike his head on a cabinet. The witness said Woodrum told her the men fled the residence not knowing whether Fisk was alive or dead.

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